Western University Physics adn AstronomyWestern Science


9001. Comprehensive Examination

A required two-part examination for Ph.D. candidates normally started at the beginning of the third term of PhD registration. The first part is a six hour written exam that tests the student's knowledge of basic astronomy and astrophysics in the fields of the solar system, the Sun and stars, the Milky Way and galaxies, and cosmology. If necessary, a second attempt may be allowed at the end of the third term of study.  The second part (typically due during the fourth term) includes a written literature review in the field of the student's PhD research followed by an oral presentation and exam based on the paper.  Both parts of the exam must be passed in order to continue in the PhD program.
Non-credit requirement.

9601. Solar System and Planetary Astronomy

Topics include planet formation, orbital and dynamical processes in the Solar System, isotopes and cosmochemistry, meteorites, asteroids and comets, planetary interiors and atmospheres as well as other Solar System processes such as impacts and tides.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9601.  Planetary Image Interpretation (Combined with GL 9557)
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

This course will introduce students to the processes and products of impact cratering on Earth and throughout the Solar System, including:

1. impact cratering processes;
2. the threat;
3. the products of impact cratering;
4. the effects of impact cratering – destructive and beneficial;
5. techniques and research methods;
6. comparative case studies of various impact structures.

This course will feature weekly lectures, student presentations, hands-on laboratories, and a field trip to the Sudbury impact structure.

9602. Galactic Astronomy

Topics include stellar clusters, stellar motions, galactic structure, local standard of rest, intersteallar medium, dark matter, spiral structure, superbubbles, HII regions.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term

9603. Star Formation

Topics include the basic physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium and the current models for low and high mass star formation will be discussed. Special attention will be paid to the observational evidence that support these models or point to their shortcomings.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9604.  Galactic and Extragalactic IR Astronomy

Techniques and methods of infrared astronomy, including imaging, spectroscopy and interferometry with ground- and space-based instrumentation. Application to research in star formation, the interstellar medium, nearby galaxies, and the high-redshift universe.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9605. Computational Astrophysics

A project-based course consisting of several computationally-intensive projects. Possible project topics include orbital dynamics, radiative transfer, magnetohydrodynamics, and plasma astrophysics. The astrophysics behind each project topic will be stressed.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9606. Fundamentals of Radiative Processes

The fundamentals of radiative transfer, radiative transitions, radiation from moving charges, bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, and Compton scattering.
3 lecture hours/week. Quarter course; one term.

9607. Cosmology

Topics include relativistic cosmological models; background radiation; cosmological implications of nucleosynthesis; baryogenesis; inflation; structure formation; quasars; intergalactic medium; dark matter and energy.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9608. Extragalactic Astronomy

An overview of the astrophysics that describes the workings of galaxies. Topics include: properties of galaxies including stellar populations, dynamics of stars, gas, and dark matter, galactic nuclei, galaxy interactions, spatial distribution and clustering; galaxy formation; extragalactic distance scale; observational cosmology.

9609. Stellar Structure

Properties of stars. Observational data for determining stellar evolution. Physical processes in stellar interiors. Nuclear processes. Convective and radiative energy transport. Stellar Pulsations and variable stars. Stellar models and evolutionary tracks through all phases. Models of stellar atmospheres. Compact Objects. Brown Dwarfs.

9610. Introduction to Modern Astrophysics

This course is an intensive introduction to modern astrophysics. It is expected that all entering Astronomy MSc students will take A9610 in their first term of study (if offered). Topics include: time and coordinate systems; orbits; spectra and radiative processes; the Sun, stars, and stellar evolution; the interstellar medium; the Milky Way and external galaxies; the high-Z universe and cosmology. This course is a pre-requisite for all other astronomy graduate courses (except where noted).
3 lecture hours / week; half course; one term; team taught

9611. The Interstellar Medium

Introduction to the nature and physics of the interstellar medium. Topics covered include a wide range of microscopic and macroscopic physical and chemical processes that determine the properties, dynamics, and behaviour of the interstellar medium. Emphasis on the underlying (astro)physical concepts, and their connections to actual astronomical observations of the interstellar medium.

9612. Fundamentals of Computation

This course will provide students with the computing background necessary for successful research in (astro)physics. Several high-level languages will be used. The course will cover the use of libraries, debugging and verification, modularization, documentation and testing, and will also introduce advanced topics including optimization and precision. Emphasis will be placed on `best practices' for scientific computing.

9613. Planet Formation and Evolution

Topics include the diversity and properties of planetary systems, the formation and dissipation of primordial circumstellar disks, the growth of dust to planetesimals, the formation of terrestrial and giant planets, the properties and evolution of second-generation dusty debris disks, and the dynamics of planets and small bodies in mature planetary systems. Prerequisite: Astronomy 9610, or permission from instructor. 0.50 credits 3 lecture hours/week; one term

9620.  Classical Electrodynamics

Topics include Maxwell's equations, wave propagation, radiating systems (multipole expansion, Lienard-Wiechart potentials), covariant formulation of electromagnetism. The material covered allows for the discussion and analysis of important examples directly related to important physical phenomena such as Faraday rotation, plasma physics, magnetohydrodynamics, and synchrotron and bremsstralung radiation.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9701. Molecular Symmetry and Spectroscopy

A thorough introduction to molecular spectroscopy. The emphasis will be on understanding molecules and their spectra by making use of their symmetry for problem solving. The necessary tools will be developed to explain the electronic, vibrational, and rotational spectroscopy of simple molecules. We will concentrate on situations involving interactions between gas phasemolecules and weak electromagnetic radiation.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9702.  Stellar Atmospheres

This course introduces the theoretical and observational foundations required for the study of stellar photospheres. Topics include radiation and radiative transfer, spectroscopy, and observational instrumentation, including spectrographs and detectors.
3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9707. Astrophysical Gas Dynamics

This is a graduate level course covering the application of gas/fluid dynamics to problems of astrophysical interest. Topics include the fluid equations,magnetohydrodynamics, waves and shocks, instabilities, turbulence, gravitation, blast waves, and numerical techniques.

9720. Special Topics

Topic Varies. Half course; one term.

9802. Water in the Solar System

Evolution, reservoirs and fate of water in the solar system. Course will involve discussion of topical papers, presentations, paper reviews and a final manuscript.

9803.  Planetary Image Interpretation (now renumbered Planetary Science 9762)

3 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.

9810. Mars

Topics include Mar's: core and magnetism based on geochemistry and geodynamics; mantle and crust based on meteorite petrology and geochemistry; crust based on volcanology and geomorphology; water based on petrology, geomorphology, aqueous geochemistry and salts; weather and climate history based on remote sensing; remote exploration including findings based on recent missions using remote sensing and geochemical analysis; potential for life based on geomicrobiology constraints; moons Phobos and Deimos. 
2 lecture hours/week. Half course; one term.  Taught with Geology 9710. 
Presentation assignments in the form of one-page abstracts, final exam.